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Pacific Mercantile Bank's Joan Earhart Named 2013 Region IX Financial Services Champion of the Year

Release Date: 
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Release Number: 
Advisory Number: 


Experienced SBA Lender Proposed Key Changes to SBA’s CAPLine Program, Leading to 600% Increase in Volume

Santa Ana, CA – The U.S. Small Business Administration announces today that Joan Earhart, Senior Executive Vice President at Pacific Mercantile Bank will receive the agency’s 2013 Region IX Financial Services Champion of the Year Award in part due to her efforts to improve the agency’s previously underutilized CAPLine program.  She was nominated for the award by Andrew Dmitrenko of CDC Small Business Finance.  District Director Adalberto Quijada stated, “Joan’s initiative in addressing challenges presented by small businesses trying to obtain working capital and contract financing and proposing solutions is indicative of her entrepreneurial spirit and her desire to put her clients’ needs first.  We’re proud of Joan and pleased to give her this award.”                      

A 30 year veteran of SBA guaranteed lending, Earhart previously started and managed several SBA loan departments for financial institutions including Eldorado Bank and Orange National Bank prior to their sale.  Twelve years ago, Earhart joined Fullerton Community Bank and launched their SBA division, called Business Community Capital, where she and her team provided approximately $700 million dollars in loans to some 1,200 small businesses.

As more of her clients faced difficulty finding capital to sustain and grow their companies, Joan made it her personal mission to find a way to help.  She saw an opportunity to help through an underutilized sub-program of the SBA’s 7(a) loan program created to offer short term financing via credit lines and contract financing.  The program, considered unusable by some, needed changes put into effect in order for more lenders to participate in the program, so she wrote to the SBA Administrator and key staff members outlining some of the problems as well as proposed solutions.  Over the next several months she worked closely with SBA to craft revisions to the agency’s Standard Operation Procedures (SOP), resulting in the creation of the new CAPLine program.  Since these changes were made, the volume in this program has increased from $117 million through 108 loans in FYE 2011 to $409 million through 532 loans in FYE 2012.  Based on 2.5 months of activity in FY 2013, the program is on track to provide financing totaling $542 million to 710 small business loan recipients by the end of the fiscal year. 

Ms. Earhart’s commitment to small business includes serving on the Board of Directors for CDC Small Business Finance, the largest 504 lender in the country, as well as on their loan committee.  Ms. Earhart also served as the founding Chairperson for the Small Business Financial Development Corporation of Orange County which administers the State Loan Guaranty Program. 

Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.  More than half of Americans either own or work for a small business and they create two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year.  As part of National Small Business Week, SBA takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others.  Every day they’re working to grow small business, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.  For more information, please visit www.sba.gov/nsbw.

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